THE ENERGY field is one that is constantly changing. The oil and gas boom's entrance into the tri-state area has magnified the focus and emphasis on power-related industries.
West Liberty University realizes the importance of staying abreast of the ongoing developments with energy. With that in mind, WLU officials announced a unique initiative this week.
University President Robin Capehart unveiled plans for a new coal and natural gas industry program to keep pace with the evolving needs and opportunities in the field. The new venture is being called the Institute for Energy and Commerce and will be directed by the school's Resource Corp.
The institute is one that harbors much potential, both in classroom learning and the resultant economic growth it may ignite. Coal has long been the backbone of the area economy, with oil and gas making a big push to become the new driving economic force in the Ohio Valley.
With that said, West Liberty is taking a lead role in harnessing energy opportunities. Capehart said the program will continue to fulfill the university's role in two ways: providing a quality educational experience and serving as a resource for the community, the region and the state by producing research, programs and initiatives that will "advance the knowledge base and contribute to the economic needs" of the area.
WLU's new venture will offer what is needed to accomplish both goals.
The institute classroom teaching should be the ideal vehicle for students to use in their quest to land positions in management, safety, engineering and other opportunities available in the energy fields. In the process, West Liberty will enhance its reputation as an academic visionary.
In 2007, WLU completed a health care study that resulted in a physician's assistant curriculum being introduced at the university, and has been met with much success, another feather in the Hilltoppers' cap.
West Liberty's ability to tap into current trends has resulted in a university on the rise while creating new opportunities for tri-state students.